PASS has a great slate this year – all of the candidates have strengths that will bring value to the PASS organization. I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Allen Kinsel since March of this year and thought I’d take the opportunity to share why I think that he would be an excellent Board Member.
Professionalism – Now this isn’t to say that Allen can’t fully appreciate a ‘colorful’ joke or that there aren’t times that he needs to rant. He’s human like everyone else. In the dealings (that I’ve been a part of) with vendors, Microsoft, volunteers, etc., he’s listened and been respectful. He is able to ask the tough questions and make the comments that need to be heard without coming off as aggressive. While that should be a quality that we should expect of professionals, unfortunately it isn’t always the case. I feel that it’s important for leadership to know the difference between reactionary venting about a perceived wrong and providing the community with comprehensive, balanced information.
Transparency – I know that this is a big issue for most of the PASS community. Allen’s blog posts show a consistent effort to keep the community aware of what the Program Committee is up to, the decisions that have been made and the reasons for those decisions.
The status quo – Throughout the process of putting together the Summit, we’ve been asking ourselves questions: Does this work? Is it efficient/effective? Is it necessary? Do we need to change it? Allen’s definitely not going through the motions here and I doubt that he would on the Board of Directors either.
Involving the community – It should be apparent from Allen’s latest posts (here and here) that he has been striving to increase community involvement in the PASS Summit. The latest experiment, with the community choice sessions, seems to have been extremely well received. Without putting words in Allen’s mouth, I think that he feels that it’s the PASS Summit, so the PASS community should have the opportunity to make some choices about the content delivered there.
Working with volunteers – We can start with this – I was and still am a noob as far as the Program Committee is concerned. I had attended one PASS Summit (last year) and my volunteer experience with PASS was negligible. Why was I given the opportunity to work on the Program Committee in the capacity that I am now? I asked to help. He recognizes the need for volunteers and the value that they provide. After the abstract selection teams were finished and the selected abstracts had been announced, Allen went back and had conference calls with all of the teams to get their input on what worked, what needed to be changed and what would make this process better.
Allen doesn’t walk on water. He doesn’t travel to the Summit by way of a winged unicorn. His supply of pixie dust is paltry or maybe non-existent. I may have seen him consume bacon, but it was way too late in the night (or early in the morning) for me to be sure. I do know that I have respect for Allen. I’m constantly impressed by his continued enthusiasm about the possibilities of PASS to make a difference for data professionals. Don’t take my word for it – read his blog; read his answers on the election forums. Without question, I’ll be voting for him in the upcoming elections. I think you should, too.
Posted by tledwards
| Tagged: Community
, PASS Summit
After attending the PASS Summit last year, I made a decision to become more active in the PASS Community. During the Summit, I had the opportunity to meet so many incredible people from the community – chapter leaders, regional mentors, speakers, board members and just normal folks like me.
As many of you know, I’ve been a part of the Program Committee for the last six months. Originally, I was tapped to head up a task team – a group that would work on projects that had been on the radar, but hadn’t had the manpower to get them completed. Along the way, I became more involved with other aspects of the Program Committee – the things that need to happen so that the PASS Summit can occur.
I think I was sucked in by the vision of the weekly meetings being wonderful opportunities in which we were magically transported to a beautiful meadow with full-on double rainbows, prancing unicorns and woodland nymphs presenting us with bacon-wrapped treats. It was that, sometimes, but it also was long hours, endless emails, looming deadlines and seemingly insurmountable roadblocks. Even with those, the thought of being involved in pulling together a valuable, enjoyable event for the community pushed us forward. I had the opportunity to work with a huge number of volunteers (many of whom I’ve never met face to face) that put in extraordinary effort and working with members from PASS HQ that were very helpful and hardworking.
Reading the tweets and blogs over the last few days makes me wonder if I’ve been duped. I’m continually seeing that PASS has failed and that PASS doesn’t want to get it right and how people are frustrated with PASS. Apparently PASS is some evil, faceless organization that has committing mayhem and creating obstacles as its sole agenda. I’ve listened while people close to me have become disenchanted with PASS as a community, not because of decisions that have been made, but by the reactions of the community members in these last few days.
I’ve been accused of being a pollyanna before and probably will be now, but I thought PASS was more than the BOD and committees. I thought PASS was the people that lead and contribute to user groups and virtual chapters, speakers, volunteers, Summit and SQLSaturday attendees and all of the rest of the people that participate with PASS in some manner. Things have happened that I disagree with and missteps have been made. I’ve voiced my opinion when I thought it was necessary and tried to address issues with the people that inolved – I strive to listen and understand the reasons behind decisions just as I hope that they listen and try to understand my points. In any large group of passionate, intelligent professionsals, there will always be disagreement. The only difference is how that dissent is expressed and handled.
If I were a data professional that was just beginning to read blogs and get involved with Twitter, I seriously doubt that I would join PASS. I definitely wouldn’t volunteer for anything PASS related. So if you really believe that PASS is irrevocably broken, walk away – people will stop joining and stop volunteering and PASS will eventually fade away.
For me, PASS is the community of its members. That community is valuable to me, so for now, I will continue to volunteer and continue to suggest changes. I will continue to believe that the vast majority of PASS is committed to making this community a valuable organization.
Posted by tledwards
| Tagged: Community
, PASS Summit
I’ve never had the opportunity to be on the abstract selection committee, so it was interesting to see the process in action. To be clear, I was not on one of the selection committees, but I am on the Program Committee so I was still involved in the process.
The abstract selection committees are chosen out of the group of people that apply to volunteer for the Program Committee. We work to ensure that each team includes at least one person that has been on an abstract selection team in the past. Our hope is that they can provide some additional guidance. We also provide at least one training session to go over the tools and answer any initial questions.
Prior to the call to speakers, the number of allocated sessions are set. They are allocated in total to fit the number of rooms that we have available. That total number is then split between the tracks (Application and Database Development, BI Architecture, Development and Administration, BI Client Reporting and Delivery Topics, Enterprise Database Administration and Deployment and Professional Development) to help make certain that we provide a balanced Summit selection.
Once the call to speakers closed, we knew that the abstract review committees were going to be in for a lot of work. Here are the numbers that we were looking at:
Total # of regular session abstracts submitted: 513
# of regular session community slots allocated: 72
Doing the math, that means that only 14% of the abstracts submitted were going to be selected. Within the tracks, that percentage ranged from 11% to 18%.
During the review process, the individuals on each team go through the abstracts in their track and rate them on 4 different areas – Abstract, Topic, Speaker and Subjective. Each of these areas are rated using a 1-10 scale and there is an area for comments. The abstract section has to do with, among other things, whether the abstract was complete (were session goals identified?), clear (was it easy to understand what the session would be about?) and interesting. The topic referred to the interest in and relevancy of the chosen topic. As far as the speaker – the abstract review teams had access to a report that provided previous Summit evaluation data for previous Summit speakers. They could also draw on personal knowledge or other information that they had access to. All of the individual scores added up to a total rating per abstract for the team.
Once the individual team members were finished with the evaluations, they came together as a team to rank the sessions. Along with looking at the total rating, they also looked at the different topics that were covered to ensure that the sessions covered a broad range of topics. Once the abstracts were ranked, the teams updated the session status to Approved, Alternate or Considered (Not accepted). If the status was Considered, the teams provided a reason as to why the abstract was not selected.
At that point the list of sessions came back to the Program Committee managers. We made certain the correct number of sessions per track were chosen and that no speakers had more than two sessions. There were a couple of cases where speakers had more than two sessions – for these cases, we went back to the teams for additional selections.
That’s it. Well, I guess I mean, those are all of the steps – it’s a ton of work and I’m grateful to everyone involved for all of their hard work. We recognize that there are probably ways to improve the process and we’re in the process of setting up meetings with all of the teams to get their input. I hope this provides clarification to some of the questions that people might have about the abstract selection process.
Posted by tledwards
| Tagged: Community
July is definitely a painful time to be in Tucson. It’s hotter than all get out and monsoon season has usually started, so for awhile we have heat AND humidty. Oh joy. Fortunately we have some SQL
At least this calendar has green on it...
Server based events coming up to take our mind off of the disagreeable weather.
Tim’s heading up the new incarnation of the PASS Performance VC. On July 6, Jason Strate (Twitter/Blog) is going to be presenting a webcast for them entitled: ‘Performance Impacts Related to Different Function Types’. It should be a great session.
On July 17, Phoenix is having it’s first SQLSaturday. That in and of itself is pretty exciting, but Tim and I are going to be presenting two sessions there. This is our first time presenting, so it’ll be a great learning opportunity for us and a potential opportunity for up and coming hecklers. If you’re somewhere around Phoenix, you should take advantage of the opportunity. If you’re not around Phoenix, but want to see what it would feel like to step into an oven, come on out. (see note below)
Then on July 21st, Quest is holding another Virtual Training Event on Performance Monitor and Wait Events. Brent Ozar (Twitter/Blog), Kevin Kline (Twitter/Blog), Buck Woody (Twitter/Blog) and Ari Weil (Twitter) will be presenting. It should make for an interesting and potentially hilarious training event. Aside from it being a great training event, it’s relevant here because they’ll be presenting live from beautiful Tucson. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet them for dinner and take them to another top-notch Old Pueblo eatery.
One final note – the final session lineup for the PASS Summit 2010 will be finalized in July. This is due to a huge amount of great work by the volunteers from the Program Committee. If it’s June and you’re reading this, send some good thoughts their way – they’re busy.
Update: The SQLSaturday in Phoenix has been postponed until Jan/Feb 2011. Hopefully many more people will want to come to Phoenix when it’s not 110 degrees out.
The SQL Server community never ceases to amaze me. The number of people that are willing to take time out from their jobs and families to volunteer is especially impressive.
I’ve had the good fortune to be able to volunteer for the Program Committe this year. My job is to pull together special projects and whatever other slave work Allen thinks up for me. I’ve had a number of volunteers that have put great work into our current project. This project has multiple steps and has required a ton of coordination between the volunteers – but it is all coming together. It’s something that’s been needed for awhile and now it’s going to be a reality. I’d name names, but I know that I’d forget someone. So thank you to everyone that’s helped out.
A big (virtual) cake for all of you!
It’s not just me, though. Tim’s in the process of re-starting the Performance VC. He had mentioned the need for volunteers through our blog, Twitter and Blythe Morrow(Blog/Twitter) put out a call for volunteers on the PASS blog. He’s been overwhelmed at the number of people that have asked to help out.
For all of you that volunteer for PASS – kudos to you! For those of you that are thinking of volunteering, but haven’t yet, get ahold of Tim or me or go here for additional volunteer opportunities.
Not-for-profit organizations can be awesome and extremely tough at the same time. About 15 years ago, I joined a not-for-profit community service organzation. Much like PASS, there were local groups, regions and an international level. On all three levels, this organization was definitely able to make a difference. I was fortunate to serve at both the club and regional levels and take part in an international event in Japan. It was definitely a life-changing experience.
One of the problems that I noticed while I was serving on the regional board was that the more that we were able to accomplish, the more that was expected of us. That was great and it was exciting to see the possibilites, but the problem that we faced is that our resources hadn’t changed. Because of our tax status, we had to be very careful about how we used the funds raised during our fund raisers and the vast majority of that went to other non-profit organizations that we supported. In order to give the regions and clubs more funding, we had a couple of options: raise dues, raise conference attendance costs or have more fundraisers during our conferences. Raising dues and raising conference attendance had the possible side outcome of fewer members or fewer people attending conferences. Additional fundraisers at the conferences took time away from what we were meeting about. So we made the decision to make better use of what we had and revisit those ideas in the future.
I see a similar issue with PASS. We’re incredibly fortunate to have an organization that provides as many resources as PASS does and with a free membership. While there is a great staff at PASS, much of what gets done here is because of a community of dedicated volunteers. I’ve been fortunate enough this year to be a part of the program committee and that has allowed me the opportunity to understand more of what goes on at PASS.
There have been many discussions about what PASS does well and less well along with what they should be doing. The latest discussions have been about the PASS Summit survey results. There have been a number of blog posts about it - Brent Ozar (Blog/Twitter), Tom LaRock (Blog/Twitter), Steve Jones (Blog/Twitter) and Andy Warren(Blog/Twitter), to name a few. I’m not picking on these particular bloggers or even this particular discussion topic. They all make valid points.
The questions that I found myself asking (and answering) are: Is this survey the best possible survey? Probably not. Did it provide PASS with valuable information? Yes. Are there people in the community that might be more skilled in writing/interpreting survey results? Possibly. Is paying for a company to write and interpret surveys for PASS the best use for our funds? I don’t know.
If I were to look at the wish list for PASS, I’m sure that it would be huge. Especially when it comes to items that require funding. If there are additional things that are needed that will require additonal funding, that money needs to come from somewhere. Do we increase the registration cost at the PASS Summit? Do we institute dues? Both of those choices have a direct affect on PASS membership and the members that are able to take part in the PASS Summit. Short of that, we have to look at either companies or individuals that are willing to donate their time and resources. Anyone that has volunteered for not-for-profit organizations know that getting companies and/or people to donate isn’t always the easiest thing.
I believe that members should continue to provide (constructive) criticism of PASS when it’s needed. I don’t believe that there should be a step up or shut up attitude. But if you can’t volunteer, then understand that PASS can’t continue to grow without also growing its resources. If you have ideas, provide them. If you have time, volunteer. If you find that leprechaun at the end of the rainbow, take him out, steal the pot of gold and donate some of it to PASS.
I think most of us will agree that PASS is a pretty amazing organization. It’s up to us to make it even better.
Last year my better half, Tim, suggested that we start a blog. It made sense for any number of reasons, but it scared the heck out of me. I couldn’t imagine that there was anything that I could ever blog about that hadn’t already been posted and probably by someone with much more experience than I have. I have a tendency (as I did today) to go out and search for other blog posts that cover the material that I’m about to write about to ensure that I’m at least adding something new with my post.
In school, if you’re assigned a paper on the pastoral imagery used in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, the instructor knows that there have been several works on that particular subject and assumes that you will be using (and referencing) information from those works. Blogging, for most people though, is not an assignment – it’s something that you make the choice to do. The people that read your blog assume that the ideas, tips and facts that you blog about are yours, unless you attribute them.
Over the past few months, there have been numerous tweets and blog posts about bloggers that have been plagiarizing other people’s works. In some cases the posts are lifted word-for-word and other cases they have selectively reworded the blog posts, but they were still identifiable. I have no idea whether it was intentional or that they were uninformed about how to use information from other posts. K. Brian Kelley [Blog/Twitter] wrote a post ‘Avoiding Plagiarism’ a couple of weeks ago. I thought I’d take this opportunity to add a little more information. As a note, I’m not an expert in plagiarism, so if any of you reading this post find errors, please comment and I’ll update this post.
On dictionary.com, the Random House Dictionary definition of plagiarism is:
“1. the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.
2. something used and represented in this manner.”
Reading this definition clarifies the reasons for my fear of blogging. I would never lift language from another blog post, but there have been blog posts that have inspired me (like K. Brian Kelley’s) to write a post. Here are some ways that I handle referencing other works.
I think you should read this
Example: Kevin Kline wrote an excellent post about the pains of not being included in a meme. You should read it here: http://kevinekline.com/2010/01/14/goals-and-theme-word-for-2010/
In this case, I have nothing to add, but I want to give my audience the opportunity to read great posts that I’ve come across.
You can say it better than I can
Example: PowerShell is fabulous. It’s so awesome that it’s caused some otherwise contentious DBA’s to wander astray. Colin Stasiuk [Blog/Twitter] admitted as much in a recent blog post : “…it’s no secret that I’ve been having an affair on TSQL. I’ve been seeing PowerShell behind her back and I gotta tell ya even after the initial excitement of a new language I’m still loving it. “
I know that I couldn’t have said it better than Colin, so in addition to linking to his post, I quoted his remark. Quotes should be used sparingly – if you find yourself quoting more than a sentence or two, you should probably use the example above.
Note: Blogs, whitepapers or other articles that are copyrighted require permission prior to their use. In addition, some online works have posted requirements on how they can be used. Brent Ozar (Blog/Twitter) has a good example of that here.
This is what I researched
Example: While the sp_change_users_login has the option to auto_fix logins, that action assumes that the username and login name match. If they don’t, it will fail. Using the Update_One option is a safer and the preferable way to handle it. For SQL Server 2005/2008, the ALTER USER statement is the preferred method for mapping users to logins. Greg Low’s (Blog/Twitter) article ‘Much ado about logins and SIDs’ provides a good explanation for these methods.
This is probably where unintentional plagiarism occurs most often. If, during your research, you read blog posts, articles, whitepapers, etc. and find useful information, your best bet is to attribute them. If you recall the definition of plagiarism above, it applies to both language and ideas, so if you learned something that you’re passing on a blog post or if you’re using that information to validate your ideas, they need to be cited. Again, keep in mind any copyright laws that might apply.
What doesn’t need to be cited
Common knowledge/generally accepted facts
Items that are common knowledge or generally accepted facts do not need to be cited. Examples of common knowledge are:
- A table can only have one clustered index
- SQL Server is an RDBMS
- Most SQL Server based questions can be answered with “It Depends”
There is a decent article on common knowledge here.
Results of personal research
If you’re blogging about an incident that occurred or the results of test that you ran, they don’t require a citation. That is, unless, you did research to solve the incident or used other information to validate your test results.
The term ‘Fair Use’ had been bandied about in the recent plagiarism incident. The idea of fair use has no exact definition, but is determined by a set of guidelines. There is a good definition at Plagiarism.org and a good article titled “The Basics of Fair Use” by Jonathan Bailey. According to Plagiarism.org the guidelines look at:
- The nature of your use
- The amount used
- The affect of your use on the original
The ability to define fair use is pretty obscure and personally, I wouldn’t want to try and stand behind that argument. The incident mentioned above definitely fell outside of those guidelines, in my opinion.
At some works fall out of their copyright term and become part of the public domain. The Wikipedia article regarding public domain can be found here. While the copyright laws no longer apply, they still require citations. This point is moot for any SQL Server blogs, since, at this time, there aren’t any works old enough to have fallen out of their copyright term.
There is a huge amount of helpful information in blogs. Blogging also provides an opportunity for us to share information and experiences. I think that it’s understood that we learn from other people – just ensure that you credit those people for their hard work.
Unfortunately, it has been awhile since I have posted a blog up here, but having spent several hours last night on Twitter with a number of esteemed members of the SQL Server community trying to educate a blogger, John Dunleavy [Twitter/Blog] about the proper way to credit authors when you use their work inspired me to get this post up. Unfortunately, the issue of bloggers or web site operators using other people’s work without properly crediting them is becoming an increasingly more frequent occurrence. Earlier in the day yesterday, Aaron Bertrand [Twitter/Blog] had a very similar issue with a SQL Server MVP (you can read Aaron’s blog post and the associated comments here).
So, the point of my post today is not really to rehash the issue of plagiarism (intended or unintended), but rather to discuss why most of us give back to the community in the form of informative blog posts, volunteerism, and answering questions on the forums and to extend that a little bit, if I may, by offering the services and knowledge of the SQL Server community to educate new bloggers about how to get started, what is acceptable, and what is not.
First off, why do we do what we do? Speaking for myself and, I think, many members of the SQL Server community, we do this because a) we were all in a position where we were just starting out and needed help; b) someone helped us, answered our questions, and we feel honored to be able to do the same; c) we take great pride in having one of the most open, collaborative, and philanthropically motivated communities in the world of technology. These services are provided free of charge to anyone who visits any of the hundreds of great SQL Server blogs out there. The number of books that you would have to purchase or expensive courses that you would have to attend to get anywhere near the content that is freely available on blogs in the SQL Server community would set you back many, many thousands of dollars and it still wouldn’t provide you with all of the benefit of the experience that this community writes from. Through our discussions last night, some barbs were thrown our way such as “how can you help if your[sic] linin[sic] your pockets” and “You guys are being selfish.” I would like to address those as I believe there must be a huge misconception about the motivation behind what we do. First off, there is “no pocket lining” going on here. Speaking for our site, http://sqlservertimes2.com, we pay for the domain registration and hosting out of our own pockets which, in my eyes, is an investment back into the community. We receive no revenue from our site as there is no advertising or services sold from the site. Now, that is just our choice and I want to be clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong with hosting ads offering services from your site, if you so choose, to help pay the bills, as long as the content of your site is original or you have at least obtained the permission of the original authors or copyright owners to host non-original material. Our motivation is strictly a collaborative one. Lori and I post issues that we have come across in our jobs and the solutions that we have come up with to solve them. Throughout our careers, we have relied heavily on others’ blog posts for our professional development and feel honored to now be able to participate in that and provide something back. Our compensation is solely the feedback we receive from readers that lets us know that we provided something that saved someone some time somewhere down the road, nothing more, nothing less.
So, where does this leave us? As I have said many times, I think the SQL Server community is one of the greatest technical communities around. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of egos and willingness to share. The majority of us are not insecure and welcome new bloggers with open arms because all of us are constantly learning. If a day goes by where I haven’t learned something new, it was not a very good day in my book and the more people out there sharing knowledge, the more likely I am to learn something new. This is a very forgiving community and I believe that if you are a blogger who has or is plagiarizing the work of others because, for some reason, you didn’t realize that it was wrong or you don’t know how to get started blogging, reach out to the community and ask for help. There are many of us who will gladly help you start sharing your own knowledge and gifts with the community, all you have to do is be willing to understand that plagiarism is stealing and wrong and be open to feedback from the group. I know most technical professionals are proud and do not like to admit being wrong, but many times being wrong is the first path to learning.
I was tagged by Jorge Segarra (Blog – Twitter) who had been tagged by Thomas LaRock (Blog – Twitter) in his post about his goals and themeword for 2010. I was going to try to remain blissfully ignorant about being tagged, but then Tim went and posted his goals. So I guess I’m on the line now. My theme word for this year is:
While there are many things that I want to accomplish this year, I don’t know that (m)any of them will occur until I can figure out a way to recharge. I’m typically a self motivated type of person, but it seems like, during the previous year, I’ve hit the wall.
I’m not entirely sure what has caused this, but I’m guessing that it is some combination of the cyclical nature of job satisfaction, having a boatload of things going on at home and the disconnect between the amount of things that I would like to learn and the amount of free time that I have.
Is there a human connector on that thing?
I realize that there is no magic button that will instantly recreate the hunger for knowledge that I had when I began learning to be a DBA. What I can do, though, is set some goals, work hard to follow through on them and be patient. My hope is that in the process of achieving these goals, I’ll rejuvenate my love of this career path.
Pick one or two topics to focus on
I have at least three SQL Server books sitting on my desk and more at home that I haven’t done much more than flip through. Rather than setting a goal to read all 3000 pages (doable, but daunting), I’m going to pick a couple of subjects to focus on and learn them as thoroughly as possible. This is ongoing – if it’s March and I know everything there is to know about database corruption (or whatever it is I end up focusing on), I’ll move on to the next subjects.
My first love is teaching. It invigorates me and gives me purpose. Blogging provides me an arena to hopefully teach people that are learning to be DBAs and the chance to share what I’ve learned.
Become more involved with PASS
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts and as Tim mentioned in his goals for 2010, we’ve talked often about starting a PASS chapter in Tucson. This ties into my love of teaching and will help us to connect with folks locally who have similar interests. I would also like to take part in other committees within PASS as needed. This will definitely require a balancing act with work and family, so I’ll be taking baby steps to ensure that I don’t shortchange other areas in my life.
What does this all mean?
None of these individual goals are earth-shattering and that’s intentional. I have a tendency to swing for the bleachers, but end up hitting to the pitcher and it makes me grumpy. My hope here is that I make some good, solid line drives and then I’ll be set up to hit it out of the park.
I’m tagging a couple of people that have unknowingly helped me to recharge (some thank you, eh?)
TJay Belt (Blog – Twitter)
Wendy Pastrick (Blog – Twitter)
Kendal Van Dyke (Blog – Twitter)
Posted by tledwards
| Tagged: Administration
, Discussion items
A few days ago, in his blog Goals and Themeword for 2010, Jorge Segarra (Blog - Twitter) tagged Lori and me to write a blog about our goals and theme word for 2010. While the title of my blog is somewhat sarcastic, it really reflects facing a year that will be full of immense opportunity and challenges as the result of a successful 2009.
In 2010, I face opportunities on all fronts in my life, professional and personal, so here I outline some of those and end with what I feel will have to be my theme word for the year.
On the professional front, 2010 is going to be a year full of many opportunities. The biggest challenge will be to take full advantage of these opportunities without letting everything else slip. Here are the major opportunities, as I see them:
- It is starting off with me shifting my focus in my position with my employer from more of a support role (production DBA) to more of a strategic role by leading a team of DBAs and System Architects and striving to make them stronger as a team as they take on what seems to be an impossible list of projects. As anyone who has made this shift knows, the key to doing it is learning to delegate effectively, however, as most that have made this transition also know, you never get completely out of the support role. As part of this, I have the unique opportunity to get to mentor someone who has recently shown a great deal of aptitude on our help desk and help mold him into a junior DBA, something I know will be extremely exciting and rewarding to participate in.
- As I move out of my DBA comfort zone, I will be required to learn a ton of technologies that my team will be responsible for that I haven’t really had to worry about up to this point. Some of these technologies (SharePoint, SCOM, PowerShell, SSRS) I find to be extremely exciting opportunities and will be a great chance for me to learn and grow. Some of the technologies I will be required to learn (i.e., SSIS) are technologies that I have tried to avoid and would rather not deal with, but circumstances dictate that I must and I know they will end up being growth opportunities for me, nonetheless.
- Getting to attend the 2010 SQL PASS Summit. Unfortunately, I missed the 2009 PASS Summit and, consequently, missed many great opportunities to learn and network. I have promised myself that this year I am going if I have to beg, borrow or steal (okay, that might be a bit of an overstatement, but you get my point ).
- Starting a PASS chapter in Tucson, AZ. This is something that Lori and I talked about for a while and that we are going to be very passionate about in 2010.
Of course, this new focus and need to learn these new technologies means a huge investment of time which leads me to my next challenge/opportunity – work/life balance.
Throughout 2009, one of the biggest things that I never thought I could get right was balancing the needs of my job with the needs of my family. In 2010, this challenge will become exponentially more difficult. If 2009 taught me anything it is that I need to go into 2010 with some sort of system or plan to try to make sure that I give my family the time that they deserve while still living up to my work commitments. This is a challenge that I am still working on cracking. Some of the personal opportunities and challenges I face in 2010, other than spending more time with my family include:
- Dealing with some personal issues of one of our kids as he strives to find out who he is on the way to adulthood. We have had some challenges with this over the last year and are seeking some supplemental help, but the challenge will be to define and stick to a plan that will help our son become a happy, productive, well-adjusted adult.
- Getting more involved in our church. This has actually been on the list for a while now, but it needs to become a priority. This is where we lead by example, not only for our church, but for our family as well, and is something that I see as essential for us to get to where we need to be spiritually. I know that we have been blessed with many great gifts and talents in our family and it is time that we use those to give back.
- Continuing to grow the relationships that we have cultivated with our many friends in the SQL Server community. I have to say that getting to network with the SQL Server community around the world in 2009 via virtual conferences and social media was one of the most unexpected and rewarding professional experiences of 2009 and, probably, my career. Most people would put this as a professional goal, but as I have interacted with many of you, I see the friendships that are cultivating as much more than professional connections and feel blessed to have been able to have these friendships.
- Blogging more. Again, this could be go either way, professional or personal, but I consider it a personal goal as it isn’t something that is really required by my employer (or something that probably a lot of my coworkers even know I do) and our blogs aren’t always technical in nature. If you told Lori and me at this point last year that we would we start a blog in 2009 and be syndicated by SQLServerPedia, we would have laughed and said that would be ridiculous because we couldn’t come up with enough to write about that anyone would want to read. Fortunately, we did get the blog off the ground in the last few months of 2009 and wrote some articles that people had some interest in, so the next challenge for us is to keep putting out content from our professional and personal experiences that, hopefully, people will want to continue to read. In this way, we can feel like we are contributing something back to the great SQL Server community that has helped us out so much.
So, all of this leads to my theme word for 2010, management! In order to have a shot at accomplishing all of these goals, it is going to require management; management of time, priorities, expectations, and resources. This is going to be probably the biggest challenge that I have faced so far, but if I am successful, the rewards will be great and have an impact on my life and my family that will pay dividends for many years to come.
Here is hoping that all of you have a successful and happy 2010!
Posted by tledwards
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